New Delhi, Aug 23: The case of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, who was presumed dead, resurfaced earlier today. An audio recording containing his first speech in a year called on the Islamic State to persevere and carry out attacks against the West.
The fact of the matter is that Baghdadi has been presumed dead several times, but none have been able to give an official confirmation about the same. However the various intelligence agencies across the world have reported that Baghdadi is either dead of incapacitated.
In fact if one listens in to his last speech of September 2017, he clearly signalled that territory in Iraq and Syria have been lost. He signalled to his fighters to leave Iraq and Syria and go back to their homeland and stage attacks there. This was seen as a clear retreat by the ISIS boss, which made it clearly that war of the ISIS in Syria and Iraq was up.
Now coming back to the latest speech, there is more emphasis on the West and other parts the world. The emphasis on Iraq and Syria is less and he only tries to assure the fighters that the ISIS still exists in these countries.
The message was clearly aimed at lifting the sagging morale of the ISIS fighters and more importantly try and suggest that the outfit is still alive. Security experts and Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that they do not see much traction coming out of this. There are a good number who believe that he is not alive, like what had happened in the case of the Taliban's Mullah Omar. For nearly two years after his death, the Taliban continued to release audio clips of Mullah Omar only to ensure that the unit stayed united and did not lose hope. However it was only later that the world got confirmation that Mullah Omar had died long back.
While this speech would not have an overall impact on the ISIS fighters, there is however a danger of the lone wolves letting themselves loose. An attack at Paris which has been claimed by the ISIS could have been a knee jerk reaction by a lone wolf after hearing the speech.
While the declining clout of the ISIS is something to rejoice, the security agencies cannot afford to take it easy, since it has always been said that once the ISIS loses grip in its mainland, it could wreck havoc in other parts of the world.
Baghdadi in his speech had said, "for the Mujahideen (holy warriors) the scale of victory or defeat is not dependant on a city or town being stolen or subject to that who has aerial superiority, intercontinental missiles or smart bombs."
His speech is titled, : Give Glad Tidings to the Patient and is around 55 minutes. It may be recalled that his last audio message came on September 28 2017, where he had called on his fighters to mount attacks across the world.
Reaching out to the fighters in Iraq and Syria, he tries to ensure that the ISIS still exists. He also reminds them about the capabilities of the outfit. Finally he reminds the fighters that they need to continue attacks in Canada, Europe and elsewhere. Attack through both conventional and unconventional means he says while adding that bombs, knives and vehicles could be the weapons of choice.